Bringing Dreams to Life
Fertility Specialists Open Tupelo Clinic
Brad and Melissa Logan of Taylor were “100 percent ready” when they tried to start their family shortly after getting married in 2007.
Unfortunately, despite no family history of infertility or prior health issues, a baby wasn’t in their immediate future.
“Ten to 15 percent of couples have a difficult time attaining and maintaining pregnancy,” says Paul Brezina, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Associates of Memphis, which recently opened a satellite clinic in Tupelo. “It’s a very physically and emotionally taxing thing to deal with.”
Melissa Logan is painfully familiar with the turmoil. “The most basic thing your body does as a female, I could not do,” she says. “It’s hard on couples. As a woman, you feel like it’s your responsibility.” Attending friends’ baby showers became too overwhelming. “Even though I was so very happy for my friends, to see even those closest to you have something you so desperately want and can’t have is very difficult,” she says.
Husband Brad says each negative pregnancy test was devastating. “I was bitter a lot,” he says. “I hid of a lot of that.”
Dr. Brezina says the good news for couples is that the field of reproductive medicine has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 10 to 15 years. “Now we can treat all kinds of reproductive difficulties,” he says, “either by surgical or medical means, or through in-vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies.”
A Long Road
The Logans first sought help from her Ob-Gyn, who ordered tests and tried some options. When these failed to result in pregnancy, they turned to Fertility Associates of Memphis for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in August 2011. “By the time you get there, you’ve already been trying for a long time and you’re really ready to have a child,” Melissa Logan says. “I was really surprised how soon I got in for an appointment. It all happened really quickly.”
In IVF, eggs and sperm from a couple are placed together in a laboratory dish to fertilize outside the body. A short time later, fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred into the mother’s womb to grow and develop. The Logans’ first attempt failed, but the second resulted in pregnancy.
“When the clinic called with the results, I didn’t believe it at first. Then I took a pregnancy test at home, and it was positive,” Melissa Logan says. “I had taken so many negative ones that I double checked what the positive test was supposed to look like.”
She called her husband with a concocted story about lab equipment being down and delayed results, but she didn’t get to speak to him. “I had told Melissa not to call me if the pregnancy test was negative,” Brad Logan says. “When my phone rang and I saw it was her calling, I just lost it and left my office crying.”
The call was to buy Melissa Logan enough time to drive to her husband’s workplace about 45 minutes from home. She met him outside with a sign that read “Are You Ready? (To be a daddy),” a nod to her husband’s obsession with Ole Miss athletics.
Their Little Miracle
Nine-pound, five-ounce baby “Evie” was born on Oct. 25, 2012.
“Every doctor told us that we were not going to be able to have children, and I had come to terms with that,” Brad Logan says. “We could not have done this without Fertility Associates of Memphis.”
“It was so worth it. I would do it all over again,” Melissa Logan adds. “We had so many negative pregnancy tests and you hope, and you hope and you hope. They were able to find a way, and we have a beautiful daughter as a result.”
While the Logans traveled to Memphis for their care, area residents struggling with infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss and reproductive disorders now have help closer to home. “I drove an hour –and-a-half one way, three times a week for months, and oftentimes this would be for a 10-minute visit to have an ultrasound or for blood work,” Melissa Logan says. “I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but having a clinic with this level of expertise in northeast Mississippi is a true blessing.”
Shedding the Stigma
The Tupelo clinic, where Dr. Brezina sees patients on Mondays, is located inside Longtown Medical Park, S. Eason Blvd., near North Mississippi Medical Center.
“In the past, couples struggling with these types of issues dealt with them largely in silence,” Dr. Brezina says. “Now infertility is talked about more openly. Infertility is treated as a medical condition, not something taboo.”
Dr. Brezina knows firsthand what his patients are going through because he and wife Jennifer struggled for several years to start their own family. “When I was an Ob-Gyn resident, my wife and I tried for about three years and couldn’t get pregnant,” he says. “After seven cycles of failed intrauterine insemination, we conceived through in-vitro fertilization and became the parents of twins.” This experience prompted him to redefine his goals, and he completed a three-year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
In women under age 35, Dr. Brezina and partners Drs. William Kutteh and Raymond Ke recommend contacting a specialist after one year of trying for a full infertility evaluation. “The chance of getting pregnant decreases with age,” he says. “In women over age 35, we recommend a more aggressive approach and encourage them to seek help after six months or so of trying to conceive.”
Dr. Brezina said about one-third of the couples they treat have significant sperm factors, either a low sperm count or difficulty getting the sperm to where it needs to be. Another third have female reproductive issues, and the remaining third have issues that are never fully identifiable. “Fortunately, he says, “we’re good at treating all of these.”
A Variety of Options
The clinic offers medical treatment (such as medication to correct hormonal imbalance or stimulate ovulation) as well as surgical treatment (to repair damage to fallopian tubes, remove endometrial polyps or fibroid tumors, or repair scarring or endometriosis). “When these options fail, we have in-vitro fertilization,” he said. “We have all the tools in our toolbox that anyone in the nation would have.”
Dr. Brezina works closely with the patient’s referring physician for preliminary testing, procedures and follow-up. Specialized procedures, such as IVF are done only in the Memphis clinic.
Only a fraction of infertility patients will progress to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, but the number in north Mississippi is below the norm. “Last year 1.5 percent of all births nationwide were IVFs,” Dr. Brezina says. “The percentage is not nearly as high locally, so we know there are a lot of people here who could benefit from this procedure. Our goal is to bring access to care.”
The Logans encourage struggling couples not to give up. “These doctors will do everything in their power to try and provide you with the most amazingly wonderful gift of all, a child,” Melissa says.
Dr. Paul Brezina of Fertility Associates of Memphis sees patients in Tupelo by referral. For more information, call (901) 747-2229 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375), or visit www.nmhs.net/women_children_services.php.
Story courtesy of the North Mississippi Medical Center.